Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's Honours Farce

A bumper crop of time servers, sycophants, chancers and downright disreputable in amongst the more worthy recipients of gongs.

Missed out this year?  All is not lost:

http://www.awardsintelligence.co.uk/



Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Arriva doesn't arrive

Route 281: Rusthall - High Brooms is timetabled to run every 12 minutes for most of the day, except on Sundays. Timekeeping is not easy as the route takes buses along some of the most congested roads in the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Once a bus is running five minutes late it is inevitable it will be caught up by the following bus as passengers for the second bus will catch the late running first bus and thus delay it even further.

There is a solution to the problem - but it costs money and Arriva can be relied upon to put profit before passenger satisfaction.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

70 today

Well, well.  I have reached my seventieth birthday.  Looking back on the stresses and tensions in my life I admit to being surprised at having made seventy.

Sadly I am most unwell, although my GP assures me I shall recover.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Tunbridge Wells snippets.

The Kent and Sussex Courier informs us that the search gets under way for the first ever town centre manager.

Incorrect.  Tunbridge Wells had a town centre manager in the 1990s.  It ended in tears.

The new chairman of Tunbridge Wells Civic Society informs us that the Civic Society is really the bulwark against the destruction of those things which make this such a wonderful place.

Back in the 1990s I called the Civic Society the Aspic Society. The society is a small private group, with no democratic mandate, seeking to impose its views.  The sad thing is is that some people have been taken in by this regressive organisation.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Pedestrian hit by van in Rusthall

Recently an elderly man was hit by a van on Rusthall High Street and died from the injuries he sustained. Such are the bare facts of another tragic death on the roads of this country.  Eventually blame for the accident and death will be apportioned.

The 'something must be done' brigade has surfaced and doubtless will be bombarding us with 'solutions' to the traffic problems on the High Street.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Tunbridge Wells Farce

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is Greg Clark  who is also the MP for Tunbridge Wells.

For years successive governments have been urging local authorities to make savings and improve efficiency by merging or sharing  back-room operations.

Then this happens:











Saturday, 14 November 2015

Obscenity in Paris

The Somme, Pearl Harbor, Coventry, The Final Solution, Hiroshima, 9/11 are but a very few examples of the obscenity of war, declared or undeclared. The murder of civilians in Paris yesterday has shocked us as it has happened on our own doorstep and not in a far away country on a different continent.

In  July 2005 52 civilians were murdered in London by means of bombs placed on the Underground  and a bus.

We do well to remember the iniquity of war and the calumny of appeasement.  Not a time for sickening liberal sentiments.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Name that building

An item on the agenda for tomorrow's Rusthall Parish Council meeting is to agree a name for the old fire station. My suggestion:

BLACKBURN FOLLY

A further item invites the council to agree a virement from General Reserves to the cost of  work on the building.  Oh dear.


Friday, 6 November 2015

Rusthall Parish Council: communications failure.

Perusal of the parish council website brings to the attention of the reader that no minutes of council meetings have been published since 8th June 2015 and no agenda published since 13th July.

Now bear in mind that the website is funded by Rusthall people, as is the paid part-time clerk.  What is going, or rather, not going on?

Look in vain for any information concerning the cost of the Great White Elephant  renovations  (the old fire station).  Nor do we have any information on the subject of the barmy idea of the Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council  to divert buses away from the town centre. Has the Council made any representations on this matter?

Pounding the streets

When I was a councillor (1996-2000) a task I set myself was to pound the streets in search of potholes, uneven pavements and faulty street lighting and report defects to the council.  It was time-consuming but now the web has made fault reporting easier and quicker, as I discovered when reporting a fault in the street light outside my home.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Another bus trip

Having explored the rural and urban delights of the Tunbridge Wells - Bromley North service yesterday I turned today to the Wells - Eastbourne service operated by Stagecoach.  More to follow......

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

There's a cuckoo over the white cliffs of Dover (2)

Q:  what is English culture?



There's a cuckoo over the white cliffs of Dover. (1)

I intend to dedicate a few posts to the life and works of Steve Uncles as he seeks to become  Kent Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016.

In most posts comment by me will be superfluous.




Monday, 26 October 2015

Day Trip to Lewes

Used my over 65 bus pass today for a day out.  Decided to visit  Lewes to explore the route of the closed railway in the town,  The railway crossed the High Street on a viaduct and then bridged the river close to Harvey's Brewery and then struck out for Uckfield.

The line's closure had more to with the political machinations of the  pro-road East Sussex County Council than a post Beeching railway closure.

The railway stood on land the Council wished to use to build an inner by-pass.  Named Phoenix Way, the by-pass only advanced a few yards before petering out in the  narrow roads of Lewes .  An expensive folly.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Fiveways Bus Ban

The blog has been critical of the idea promoted by the Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council that buses be banned from Fiveways.

Yesterday evening I attended the AGM of the Bridge Trust.  A fellow attendee suggested it would be a good idea to e-mail Councillor Jukes stating objections to his hare-brained proposal.

He can be contacted at:

david.jukes@tunbridgewells.gov.uk

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Pantiles. ATM- Free Zone

The Pantiles is a major visitor attraction.  The decision of Barclays to close the Pantiles branch has seen the demise of the last bank branch at the lower end of Royal Tunbridge Wells.  The Post Office branch closed years ago.  So, here you are a visitor to the Wells and you wish to replenish your wallet.  Barclays took their ATM with them.

Where to go?  The railway station or Sainsbury?  Hardly user- friendly for visitors wishing to spend money in that part of Tunbridge Wells.

Many visitors wish to shop at the top end of the town and use the Crescent Road car park. The condition of the public lavatories has deteriorated over the years.  Worse still, the facilities close at 5.30PM and not 6.00PM as stated on the notice of opening hours.

Perhaps Councillor Jukes could bring his talents to bear to deal with these matters rather than pursue his crazy proposal to drive visitors and locals away from public transport by closing Fiveways to buses.


Steel

The demise of steel-making plants in the wake of China's dumping of surplus steel reminds me of the  closure of steel making capacity close to where I lived in the second half of last century. 

 I remember steel being made at Stanton, Staveley, Renishaw, Clay Cross and Sheepbridge.  All vanished along with associated railways, coal mines, coking plants, foundries and rolling mills.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Two firsts.

Caught the 281 bus at Parsonage Road, Rusthall.  On time departure at 13.24.  One other passenger who alighted at the second bus stop. No other passengers joined until we arrived at the Tesco stop at the top end of town. Very odd as we were not hard on the heels of the 13.12 bus.

Coming home I caught the 16.00 off Meadow Road.  At Fiveways a big scrum, too many people, passengers were left behind.  No room on the bus until we lost a few passengers at Sainsbury.   First time I have travelled non-stop from Fiveways to Sainsbury.

Councillor Jukes has had the bright (trans: stupid) idea to ban buses from Fiveways.  His idea should be consigned to the rubbish bin

 .

Friday, 16 October 2015

At sixes and sevens.

Set off for Maidstone on a No 7 bus.  Delayed in Tonbridge by a slow moving steam traction engine (with a jib attached to the front) belonging to the North Kent Haulage and Lifting Co.  Further delay as we navigated inconsiderately parked cars in Mereworth.  Wreckage clear-up following a car accident between Wateringbury and Barming delayed us even further.

Return journey by the No. 6 route.  Heavily delayed by the aforementioned accident.  What I didn't realise was that the No 7 route (apart from the Mereworth detour) sticks to the main roads whereas the No 6 detours round East Peckham and Pembury as well as calling at the Hop Farm and the hospital at Pembury.

Twerp of the Year Award 2015

From a crowded field a clear winner has emerged.  Step forward Councillor David Jukes, Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Councillor Jukes has seen off strong opposition - from machine gun refugee killing Steve Uncles of the English Democrats to members of the White Elephant Club in Rusthall, namely parish councillors spending money on the old fire station.

However all this pales into insignificance when set against Councillor Jukes declared intention to ban buses at Fiveways having just spent a huge sum on a road scheme which does provide for buses.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

6X

One of the joys of a concessionary bus pass is the ability to wander off on a whim and for free.  From a base in Tunbridge Wells it is possible to travel to Crawley, Bromley, Maidstone, Eastbourne, Hastings and Brighton without a change of bus en route.  

Yes, it is slower than train travel or using the car but it is free.  Most of the services employ double-decker buses, so a fine view of the passing scenery which is not possible using a car and without the blur of a train journey.

For the most part the services are reliable and the buses reasonably clean.

Today I headed off towards Maidstone via Tonbridge.  Opportunity to inspect the road works on Tonbridge High Street and admire the architecture of Hadlow Folly and Mereworth church.

On arriving in Wateringbury I decided I did not have time to complete the journey to Maidstone.  I alighted at the Wateringbury Hotel stop, crossed the road and inspected the timetables.  I had just missed the bus to Tunbridge Wells via Paddock Wood.

A thirty minute wait beckoned but then a 6X came into view.

The 6X operates between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals and stops only at Barming, Wateringbury Hotel and Nettlestead. The 'bus' was a tour coach.  It took fifteen minutes to arrive at its destination.  A quick change then onto a bus between the hospital and Tunbridge Wells town centre via Pembury Road.  In all it had taken thirty minutes from Wateringbury to alighting in Tunbridge Wells.

A small bonus: just as we were leaving the hospital the bus I had missed at Wateringbury hove into view.


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Friday, 9 October 2015

On the buses

Decided to have a look at the work being done to dual carriageway the A21 between Pembury and Tonbridge. What better way than on a bus.  So it was off to Pembury Hospital from Tunbridge Wells and thence a bus from the hospital to Tonbridge.

A huge amount of muck has been shifted and it looks as though there is a lot more to go before the new carriageways are defined.

Monday, 5 October 2015

A nasty surprise in Rusthall

Last Sunday I walked up to the High Street in Rusthall to buy a newspaper.  Purchase completed I rounded the corner into Meadow Road and was confronted by the sight of two traffic wardens. It was 8.00AM and the wardens were busy issuing 'tickets' to cars parked partly on double yellow lines.  I bet a few people had a nasty surprise later that morning.


Fiver for proof

Don't believe this.  Fiver to first person to prove me wrong.

http://english-passport.org/2015/10/04/bbc-we-are-pleased-to-announce-that-england-the-host-nation-are-out-of-the-2015-rugby-world-cup/






Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Shambles at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

According to the Times of Tunbridge Wells  the chief executive of the borough council is 'quite bitter' that the council is facing a £150m gap in its infrastructure funding.  Quite right too.

But then....you do wonder when the council spends a  lot on a cycling strategy which will cost a huge sum to implement.

Add to this the fact that the council is hankering still to ban buses from Fiveways: a move which will inconvenience many passengers, add to road congestion at key junctions, lengthen journey times and make timetables a work of fiction.  A really bright idea.

Makes one wonder if, with the present clueless mob, withholding infrastructure money is not a bad thing after all.



You have to admire the stupidity. Maybe not.

English Passport carries posts by leading lights in the English Democrats. This is the latest offering. Nuff said.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Cycle routes strategy for Tunbridge Wells or away with the fairies

How much did this cost to produce?  What is the cost of achieving  the proposals?  Austerity? Strapped for cash?

http://consult.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/portal/economic_development__regeneration/cycl/cycl?pointId=1442496491425

Just think of the proliferation of street clutter with all the signs.  Pembury Road is a good example of clutter.

Route 9 will be a nightmare on Rusthall High Street.

Ashford went mad over cycle routes - hardly used.

Best thing would for this strategy to be kicked into the long grass and give the thumbs down to the vociferous cycling lobby. Spend the money on improvements to public transport.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Rusthall Parish Council

Now work has commenced on the old fire station I thought I would look at the minutes of the parish council to ascertain the name of the contractor and how much the council is forking out for the work. Stymied at the first hurdle:no minutes on the council website since 8th June meeting.

Below is a copy of a sample agenda:


Note Item 15.  Why is the open session at the end of the agenda? How can any issue be addressed elsewhere in the agenda?

Another day, another charity shop opens.

Two days ago I attended the official opening of the IMAGO charity shop. Today I attended the opening of the Bridge Trust shop Bridge Revivals Boutique on Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells. This shop, together with Bridge Revivals Gifts and Treasures on Camden Road replace the Trust's previous shop lower down Camden Road.

It has been a busy period for the Trust.  The Tonbridge shop closed and the furniture warehouse in Tonbridge had to close on termination of the lease.  The warehouse has relocated to Eldon Way, Paddock Wood and trades as Bridge Revivals Homestore.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Now this is a jest.

In an earlier post on this blog reference was made to Robin Tilbrook who advised us that when it came to machine-gunning immigrants Steve Uncles was only being facetious or writing in jest.

Doubtless this post from Steve Uncles is also in jest.




IMAGO open charity shop in Tunbridge Wells.

IMAGO?  You may well ask.

Rather then answer the question please click on the link below.

http://www.imago.community/

The charity has opened a shop on Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells.  Good quality stock: well worth a visit.

IMAGO began life as the Tunbridge Wells Council for Voluntary Service. It then became West Kent CVS and more recently Voluntary Action Within Kent.

Met up with many friends at this evening's official opening.

Anti- EU, pro- English Parliament

Readers of this blog will be aware that I support the creation of an English parliament within a UK federal structure.  I support UK exit from the European Union.

My reasons for the stances I take are well documented.

Enter the fray one John Dutton in a letter to the Times of Tunbridge Wells.

'As for an EU exit.....consequences (of exit) seem to be ill-thought through or ignored, by anti-EU bigots and our many (mostly?) ignorant and uneducated fellow British citizens! A crippling price to pay for an illusory, self-defeating, nationalistic, ultra-patriotic, British sovereignty!'

Clearly written by a pro-EU bigot, well endowed with breathtaking arrogance.  Keep up the efforts JD, you are an excellent recruiter for the anti-EU movement.


Goodbye EU?

Interesting article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/11886592/Treaty-change-is-only-way-to-end-migrant-crisis.html

It was all in jest.......

Remember this statement by the  English Democrat candidate for Kent Police and Crime Commissioner?

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/596076/Calais-migrant-crisis-shoot-English-Democrats-Kent-Channel-Tunnel

Note this from the article:


Despite the public being outraged by his comments, the boss of the English Democrats has backed the shocking comments.

Robin Tilbrook, chairman of the party said: "It seems to me that it is a statement of fact.

"It is not unusual that on international borders that after being warned, if people keep climbing over fences and persist it would not be unusual for guards to fire."

Having being trounced in a BBC interview Tilbrook published the following:

http://robintilbrook.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/jo-coburns-interview-of-me-on-bbc-2.html


I was drawn to this from the article:

Steve Uncles, our Police Commissioner candidate for Kent, made a facetious comment on the not at all serious “social medium” of Facebook and wrote about using a machine gun. 

Isn't that a relief.  It was only a jest, a joke.  The latest in a  long line of 'jokes' in poor taste by Steve Uncles. Sorry Robin, it won't do.  A very poor effort at damage limitation.  What you should have done is chucked Uncles out of the party.

Steve Uncles, our Police Commissioner candidate for Kent, made a facetious comment on the not at all serious “social medium” of Facebook and wrote about using a machine gun.



























Tuesday, 22 September 2015

English Democrats AGM

Take a look at the following screen captures from the English Democrats' website:





Note the words 'the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex'.  Not named and in any event it is likely there is more than one Deputy.

I queried the appropriateness of a DLL speaking at a political meeting and moreover one being held in Leicester in an e-mail to Essex County Council.  The link I provided to the ED website now comes up as a 404 error. However I have the screen shots.

There is no reason why a DLL cannot hold political views and attend political meetings but surely this should be in a personal capacity.  To publicise the DLL role is politicising a Crown appointment and should not be countenanced.  Indirectly it has brought the sovereign into party politics.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

RefugEase

Wandered into Royal Tunbridge Wells this lunchtime.  Huge traffic jam at the roundabout at the bottom of Major Yorks Road.  The cause of the congestion: cars parking to deliver goods to The Forum for onward transmission by RefugEase to  Hungary in support of migrants in that country.

I watched proceedings for a while and was surprised at the volume of cars and people on foot dropping off items - in some cases boot loads.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Disgraceful

Is there any evidence that Corbyn made the statements he is 'alleged' to have made?  Weasel words by English Democrat loser.




What Corbyn said is here:

http://jeremycorbyn.org.uk/articles/morning-star-280413-no-room-for-the-racists/


There can be no excuse, justification or apology for what happened to Rigby. It was an appalling crime and it has to be condemned.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Corbynmania

Jeremy Corbyn had an overwhelming victory in the contest for the position of Leader of the Labour Party. He succeeded in persuading the party's electorate that an injection of left-wing policies would make the party a force again in British politics.  The fact that Ed Miliband lost the 2015 election decisively on a manifesto which was somewhat to the left of the Blair/Brown era was ignored.

However if the party collectively wishes to commit electoral suicide, so be it.  The wheels will come off Corbynmania within weeks, but the true believers will sink their heads in the sand, pretend all is well with the great project and then wonder why they are annihilated at elections.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/Jeremy_Corbyn/11859233/The-day-the-Labour-Party-died.html


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34126758


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/Jeremy_Corbyn/11860462/Corbyns-victory-reveals-Labours-revulsion-with-real-voters.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/5-reasons-to-be-happy-with-jeremy-corbyns-victory-10497758.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/jeremy-corbyn-becomes-labour-leader-today-is-our-darkest-hour--we-have-become-unelectable-10497770.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/Jeremy_Corbyn/11861327/jeremy-corbyn-victory-new-labour-death.html?


WT.mc_id=e_DM47653&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_FAM_New&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FAM_New_2015_09_13&utm_campaign=DM47653






Thursday, 10 September 2015

SPACE charity

Earlier this year I became a trustee of SPACE, mainly to assist with governance and reporting issues. Yesterday I was elected to the post of chair.

What does SPACE do.......click on the link.

http://www.spacecharity.org/Pages/default.aspx

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Law enforcement - English Democrat style.

So, the English Democrats plan to preserve English culture.  This will be achieved through law enforcement and in particular the use of guns by the police.



In Kent the English Democrats state they will ban the burka (no indication of the legislation to be used) and also halal and kosher meat sales (again no indication of the legislative framework to achieve this).


All this in the name of protecting English culture from 'dilution'.



BUT, what is English culture?  Presumably the English Democrats will ban Chinese, French, Indian etc. restaurants, and all USA films.  Somehow I doubt it.




Monday, 7 September 2015

Smoking cessation (2)

I stopped smoking on 28th July 2015.  So far I have managed to resist the temptation to get a nicotine fix. Friends tell me the first few weeks are the worst.  We shall see.  I have made huge financial savings, put on a little weight and my sleeping pattern.has changed. I am awake all night and sleep in the afternoon!

Adrian Ratcliffe vindicated - again

Older readers of this blog will recall the squalid campaign of character assassination by The Courier newspaper against Adrian Ratcliffe.  Adrian had the temerity to argue that white English girls were at risk of being sexually assaulted by Asian men.  Racist said The Courier.  Today we have the outcome of the latest of a string of cases involving vulnerable white girls and Asian men.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11848625/Aylesbury-child-sex-ring-sentence.html


What was noted by me at the time was that local establishment figures in Tunbridge Wells fell over themselves to put the boot into Adrian. And I haven't seen a word of apology from any of them.



Uncles repeats his promise

I'll ban the burka in Kent said Steve Uncles.

http://kentcommunityactivist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/uncles-speaks-again.html


His response:


John there are plenty of existing laws that can be used to achieve this, watch and learn

BTW - You are about to be exposed on your Anna Cleves "joke"

Well, I have waiting to 'watch and learn'.

Now we have this:


Still no explanation of the legal framework to legitimise any 'ban'.

Oh, by the way, I have not been 'exposed'.  All bluff and bluster.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Rusthall Parish Council excluding press and public.

Rusthall Parish Council meets on Monday 7th September to consider the tenders for the work to the old fire station - the white elephant acquired by the council having been gifted the purchase price anonymously by a local resident.

It is not unusual for councils to exclude press and public when considering tenders/contracts on the ground that there is commercial sensitivity concerning the subject matter.  However the problem is that press and public are often excluded without any debate as to the need to exclude in a specific case.

Sometimes the impression gained is that the reason for 'secrecy' is not so much commercial sensitivity, rather it is to protect councillors from their deliberations being aired in the public domain.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Bedford

A visitor of a nervous disposition to Royal TunbridgeWells in the 1990s would have been well-advised to stay away from the Bedford and Roebuck inns.

The Roebuck had a fearsome reputation and trouble would often spill out into Camden Road.  In my experience it was boisterous, plenty of atmosphere and blessed with visits from the police when fights broke out.    The pub is now a mosque.

The Bedford is across the road from the railway station.  In the 1990s it was a seedy establishment..  I was in the  Bedford drinking bottled Guinness when a posse of policemen arrived.  Cue for the pub's denizens to scatter fast.  The pub went through name changes and a succession of landlords.  Never a good sign.

However the pub is on the up.  An oasis of real ale, a mature clientele and a welcoming atmosphere. Indeed, I would recommend a visit.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Uncles speaks again

Latest from the Uncles' camp.

http://steveunclesenglishdemocrats.org/2015/08/22/if-elected-kent-police-commissioner-i-will-ban-the-burka-in-kent-steve-uncles

A few questions:

1.  What legislative provision can be used to achieve this?

2.  What do you do with people who flout the ban:  fine, put in prison?

3.  How will the ban be enforced?

Do I hear cuckoos?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Smoking cessation

I have smoked a pipe for many years. At the end of July I decided to try to stop smoking, after all it would save me just under £13 a week if I succeeded. Just coming to the end of week 3 and so far so good.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Keeping fit, not fat

Started a new fitness regime yesterday. Consists of going on long walks with steep(ish) hill to climb. Yesterday a wander to Speldhurst, today Ramslye, High Rocks and Barrow Lane.  The High Rocks Inn was closed.  Signs at the end of Barrow Lane state it is closed.  Traffic has no difficulty travelling the length of the road.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Grim Reaper approaches

The only certainty in life is death.  For most people the uncertainty is when the scythe will do its work.  In recent weeks there has been a spate of  'celebrity' deaths:  Cilla Black, David Nobbs and George Cole. Each death affirms our mortality.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

On the buses

Used my bus pass today to travel to Sevenoaks for a meeting.  All the buses on time. The bus station in Sevenoaks more convenient by far than the railway station.  The only problem: my meeting finished at 3.15pm and there is no return bus until 4.16pm.  Over an hour's gap in the service (3.08pm to 4.16pm) which is rather strange given that for most of the day there are two buses an hour and a notice  at the Sevenoaks bus station refers to a half-hourly service.

Hopefully Cllr Jukes will get his comeuppance over his plans to ban buses in the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.  Last time buses were diverted bus timetables were turned into works of fiction. I look forward to our two Conservative councillors in Rusthall putting the skids under the Jukes folly.




Saturday, 25 July 2015

A stupid idea, courtesy of councillor Jukes

The defining moment in the reign of councillor David Jukes has arrived with his stupid idea and attendant comments on changing bus routes through the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.  Before reading on please click on the link below:

http://www.courier.co.uk/Council-boss-wants-say-goodbye-town-buses/story-27471325-detail/story.html


The 281 route service was a shambles.  The twelve minute interval service was abandoned. On one occasion passengers waited forty minutes for a bus and then three turned up together.  One can but hope, but I am not holding my breathe, that Rusthall Parish Council and the two newly elected councillor for Rusthall on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will tell councillor Jukes to make his resignation a priority.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Another bank branch to close

Once upon a time the Pantiles end of Royal Tunbridge Wells was served by four banks and a post office. The post office, Lloyds, NatWest and Midland closed their doors leaving only Barclays.  Now Barclays is to close its Pantiles branch on 9th October 2015.

The main Barclays branch in TunbridgeWells has no cashiers, banking has to be done through a machine.  Bad news.  At least Santander has cashiers. Not sure what the newly opened Metro Bank has to offer.

Ah,the nostalgia kicks in for those far off days when a small overdraft could be secured by a nod from the chief cashier of a large branch and business was conducted with people who made decisions and not by computer programs and box-ticking.

Update:  the ATM machine will also go.  See:

http://www.courier.co.uk/Fury-Barclays-withdraws-cashpoint-Pantiles/story-27515017-detail/story.html#1

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Heathrow or Gatwick

I have never flown, nor do I intend to go up in an aeroplane in the future. I have collected/dropped off people at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Luton airports.

It is essential that whichever of the two airports chosen for expansion has improved public transport links.

Heathrow is connected to London via the dire Piccadilly Underground line and the line from Paddington.  It was planned originally for Heathrow to be on the HS2 route from London to the north, then it was to be served by a spur line, now it has been dropped.   The lack of direct rail connections with the north, south and west puts pressure on the road system.

See:

http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2015/07/01-heathrow-plan-involves-rail-upgrades.html?

Gatwick is worse than Heathrow for rail connections.  Apart from the overcrowded London-Brighton main line there is nothing apart from the slow service to Reading. Quite how the addition numbers using Gatwick will be served by public transport is a mystery.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Greek Tragedy

In his blog and on my Facebook page I have been following the crisis in Greece since 2010. Whatever happens now, the one thing that is certain is that it is an ongoing tragedy for the people of Greece, failed by their politicians, the EU, the ECB and the IMF.

Greece is a politically volatile nation.  It has strong communist sympathies, has been ruled by a military junta and now has dysfunctional  political, social and economic systems.  In other words it is a total mess.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Psst...want an honour?

Cash for honours has a long, inglorious history.  See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cash_for_Honours


Whilst the worst excesses have been abated the awarding of honours to political cronies continues apace.

Why do some people crave honours?  There is a small industry out there assisting such people.

http://www.awardsintelligence.co.uk/service/queens-honour-support?gclid=CMecnbyjj8YCFU3HtAodQRwAXg

Pass the sick bowl please.




Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Podbury not at elected member of Rusthall Parish Council.

I note Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website continues to state that borough councillor for Rusthall, Mrs Podbury, is an elected member of Rusthall Parish Council.  She isn't.

Monday, 8 June 2015

HST2 on track?

The general election result probably killed off serious opposition to HST2.  Sporadic skirmishes will continue, but the battle has been lost.  However, we can but hope that austerity cuts makes HST2 look like an expendable luxury.  Kick the project into the long grass for a few years.

There is much that can be done  to alleviate capacity and speed issues using existing infrastructure. A few suggestions:

1. Re-open the old Great Central line between Rugby and High Wycombe and build a link to the former London & North Western line.  Some services could be diverted off the West Coast Main Line (WCML) to London Paddington and passengers could change at the latter for Crossrail.  There will be no connection at Euston for Crossrail.

2. Re-open the Bedford-Northampton line and extend Thameslink services to Rugby and down the Trent Valley to Stafford.

3. Increase usage of the Midland Line to Sheffield and West Yorkshire.  One way to reduce considerably travel time between London St Pancras and Sheffield would be to send trains for Sheffield via the Erewash Valley Line. The argument used against this is that trains need the Derby stop for revenue purposes.  The answer surely is to extend trains beyond Sheffield to Rotherham, Wakefield and Leeds and offer much cheaper fares from Leeds and Wakefield to London than on the old Great Northern line via Doncaster to Kings Cross.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A dangerous junction?

Following months of disruption the road works in the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells have been completed and buses are running again between Goods Station Road and Monson Road via Fiveways.

Traffic priorities have been changed at the junction of Mount Pleasant Road and Monson Road. There is no right turn out of Monson Road.  Traffic coming from Fiveways must now give way to traffic travelling in either direction on the Mount Pleasant Road/Monson Road axis.

One effect of the changes is that traffic is moving faster from Mount Pleasant to Monson Road and visa-versa.  There is heavy footfall across Monson Road at the junction with Mount Pleasant Road and I fear there will be accidents involving pedestrians.

Tunbridge Wells Council: wrong again.

From the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website:




Councillor Podbury was elected to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to represent Rusthall but she is not an elected member of Rusthall Parish Council.  She is an elected member of Speldhurst  Parish Council.

Friday, 15 May 2015

EDP results

The English Democrats are dishing out a fair old bashing to UKIP in the context of the leadership dispute within the latter party.  I suppose it deflects attention away from the abysmal performance of the English Democrats.

London and SE

English Democrats


Maggi Young – Bexleyheath and Crayford
151
0.3
Robin Tilbrook – Brentwood and Ongar
173
0.3
Kim Gandy – Dagenham and Rainham
71
0.2
Steve Uncles – Dartford
211
0.4
Graham Moore – Erith and Thamesmead
188
0.4
Gary Butler – Faversham and Mid Kent
158
0.3
Charles Vickers – Stevenage
115
0.2

Yorkshire and Humber
English Democrats


Ian Sutton – Barnsley Central
477
1.3
Kevin David Riddiough – Barnsley East
440
1.1
Therese Hirst – Bradford West
98
0.2
Louise Dutton – Don Valley
242
0.6
David Burnett – Doncaster Central
309
0.8
David Allen – Doncaster North
448
1.1
Colin Porter – Penistone and Stocksbridge
500
1.1
Sharon Pilling – Rother Valley
377
0.8
Dean Walker – Rotherham
116
0.4
Elizabeth Breed – Sheffield Central
68
0.2
Matthew Roberts – Sheffield South East
141
0.3
Justin Saxton – Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
171
0.4
Steve Clegg – Sheffield Hallam
167
0.3
David Haslett – Sheffield Heeley
122
0.3
Alan England – Wentworth and Dearne
309
0.7

North East


English Democrats


Neil Humphrey – Berwick-upon-Tweed
88
0.2

North West


English Democrats


Valerie Morris – Bury South
170
0.4

Wales
English Democrats
Stephen Morris - Monmouth                  100       0.2



Saturday, 9 May 2015

Liberal Democrat Claptrap in Tunbridge Wells.

In 2010 the general election result in Tunbridge Wells was as follows:

Con   28,302  (56.24%)   Lib Dem  12,726  (25.29%)   Lab  5,448 (10.83%)  UKIP 2,054  (4.08%)

Green 914  (1.82%)  BNP 704 (1.40%)  Ind  172  (0.34%)


In the Lib Dem election address for 2015 the following statement caught my eye:

James MacCleary: The choice to beat the Tories here

The General Election here in Tunbridge Wells constituency will be a close fight between hard working Lib Dem campaigner and the Conservatives.  

At the last general Election Labour finished a distant third place, more than 7000 voted behind the Liberal Democrats.

More and more Labour supporters are switching to back local Lib Dem James MacCleary this time - the only candidate that can hold the Conservatives and UKIP to account here.

Sadly for Mr MacCleary the election contest turned out to be anything but a close fight between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.  The Lib Dems nosedived to fourth.

Where were all those Labour supporters switching to to the Lib Dems?  The Labour vote was up, both in numbers and as a percentage.

2015 Result:

Con 30,181  (58.69%)   Lab  7,307  (14.21%)  UKIP 6,481  (12.60%)  Lib Dem  4,342 (8.44%)

Green  2,659  (5.17%)  Ind  458  (0.89%)


The electorate was not fooled by this Lib Dem nonsense.







Good election results for Tories in Tunbridge Wells

The Conservatives held the Tunbridge Wells parliamentary seat.  Nothing newsworthy, however the other parties positions merit consideration.  Labour came second and UKIP third.  Many had expected the positions to be reversed.  The Liberal Democrats finished fourth having previously been second.  At least we might be spared from having to feast our eyes on the stupid bar charts which feature in Lib Dem election literature. The bar charts are intended to show that the only way to beat the Conservatives in Tunbridge Wells is to vote Lib Dem.

The Tories gained four seats on the borough council: two from UKIP, one from Labour and one from the only Independent.

Friday, 8 May 2015

UKIP crushed in Rusthall


Election results for Rusthall

Borough Election, May 2015 - Thursday, 7th May, 2015

Rusthall - results
Election CandidatePartyVotes%
 Thelma Rosemary HuggettConservative87419%Elected
 Joy PodburyConservative80417%Elected
 Alex BritcherLabour59313%Not elected
 John AustenUK Independence Party46310%Not elected
 Russ BishopUK Independence Party4309%Not elected
 Clive Graham BrewerLabour4209%Not elected
 David Charles HoltonGreen Party3979%Not elected
 Catherine Shaune McLachlanLiberal Democrats3568%Not elected
 Peter LewisLiberal Democrats3267%Not elected

A decisive result for the Conservatives.  UKIP lose two seats.  Appalling result for the Liberal Democrats.